October 2, 2008

Pacific Legal Foundation Lawsuit Challenges Polar Bear ESA Listing

Attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation, the nation's leading legal watchdog for property rights and a balanced approach to environmental protection, today filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government's listing of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, because the government's own scientific studies say the polar bear is not threatened.

Today's lawsuit is filed on behalf of a coalition of food producers, landowners, employers and consumers who, along with businesses and employees throughout the country, would be harmed by the restrictive and far-reaching regulations that could be imposed on the American economy as a result of this listing.

"The good news is that the polar bear is not endangered or threatened," said PLF Principal Attorney Reed Hopper. "The polar bear's numbers have been going up, not down. Even under the most conservative projections in the government's own scientific model, there will be at least 20,000 polar bears in the Arctic over the next four to five decades - that's more than double the number there were 50 years ago."

"So, the alarming warning that has been put out in the news media about a possible two-thirds decline in the polar bear population, simply doesn't accord with the government's own studies," Hopper continued.

"While polar bears aren't threatened or endangered, listing the polar bear under the ESA creates a threat - to jobs and the economy," said PLF President Rob Rivett. "Because this listing is tied to speculative effects of global warming, it could trigger devastating regulations nationwide, on any activity or industry that emits carbon dioxide. There could also be restrictions on the public's ability to make decisions about things as simple as what kind of food to eat or car to drive, not just in Alaska but in California and all of the other states."

"Radical, litigious environmental groups are poised to exploit this listing to push for regulations that could cripple basic American industries," Rivett explained. "Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake if global warming restrictions are imposed on the automobile industry, agriculture, homebuilding, and - perhaps most important - energy development. If you like high gas prices, you'll applaud this listing, because it could stifle oil and gas development."

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is the oldest and most successful public interest legal organization that litigates for property rights, limited government, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country. A 35th Anniversary video, highlighting PLF's history and mission, may be viewed by clicking on this YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnBSlRQwxKU) link.